Three months ago my outlook on life completely changed. I had no idea becoming a parent would make me reconsider so many things I held to be true. In particular, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how Jesus lived his life. On the streets. Hanging out with the rejects. Stirring up trouble. Making all sorts of people angry.
Then I think about his call to each of us. The call to pick up our cross and follow him. The call to leave our family behind. The call to make him our #1 priority.
And then I get scared. Terrified in fact.
Because if I’m completely honest with myself, I’m not sure I want to live my life the way Jesus lived his. I don’t want to live on the streets. In all actuality, I’m not sure I could survive on the streets. And as much as I’d like to say I’m comfortable hanging out with the rejects … well … I’m really not.
Stirring up trouble … now there’s something I can do. But only sort of. Because if getting arrested and making people angry are involved … well, I am likely to draw the line before that happens.
So instead of getting out there and doing it myself, I read stories of people who are doing it. Stories of people giving up everything to rescue the prostitutes on the street. People who take time to really engage in conversation with the homeless on the street. Not just in passing, but lengthy, honest conversations. People who travel across the world to be the gospel to those in third world countries.
I want to want that life. I want to be brave enough to sell all my possessions and move my family to another part of the world. I want to be bold enough to engage in conversation with the homeless mom and her daughter that I see at least once a week.
But I’m not.
Maybe that’s not what I’m called to. Maybe I’m called to be radical in other ways. In the way I spend my money. In the way I cook my food. In the way I tell the stories of those who are doing.
But when I think about Jesus’ life, I just can’t help but wonder what he would think about today’s world. Would he think some of us play bigger roles than others in bringing about the kingdom of God? Or would he see every act, big or small, as just one piece of a much larger puzzle?
We all have different skills, gifts, and talents. And I know that each one of us is called to something different. I used to believe that we were all called to live radical lives. Sell our possessions and minister to the poor. Jump out of our comfort zones and trust that Jesus would protect us.
But I just can’t bring myself to do it anymore.
And I’m left wondering just how I can live a radical life while making sure my family is healthy and safe. What used to seem so obvious doesn’t feel so obvious now that I have someone else to take care of.
I end up going full circle. Thinking about how Jesus lived his life. Feeling like I’m living a life of hypocrisy because I don’t want to live the life he did.
And wondering if I will ever be brave enough to stir up trouble the way he did.